Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was very much to my liking, and so I’ve written a poem accordingly. The prompt: Spend a few moments examining an old photograph—a found image, a photo from childhood, an iconic shot from history—and give it a title. Then put the photo aside and write a poem using this title. The “photograph” is actually a vintage postcard that was given to me some time ago. I’ve never posted it before, so I might as well do it now:
Still Life with Flowers, Faces and Writing in a Foreign Tongue
They got lost, they got sold, they were given away –
They traveled in waistcoat pockets, envelopes and between greasy fingers –
They found their way to me. Over wars and scattered affections,
Over households, over countries, by train, by car, by man, by woman.
Two faces: they might be mother and daughter,
But everything and then some tells me they’re not –
They remind me of Claudia and Madeleine, also of Alice and Lorina.
Flowers: I don’t know what they are, but they look like paper,
And maybe they’re string and cloth and wire.
Foreign tongue: makes me wish it was on the faces,
Like crowns, like jewels, like tattoos and veins.
They’ve stayed together: through post, through flea market,
Through drawers and albums and foreign decades.
I don’t care who the faces belong to, what the flowers are,
What the writing means – what I want to know is
Their dearest secret: what keeps them together?